Situated in the Southern Hemisphere, the Commonwealth of Australia comprises the continental mainland, the Tasmanian Island, and many other smaller islands. Dutch explorers discovered Australia in the 17th century, and the British took over in the 18th century. There are many misconceptions about Australia, but such misconceptions simply arise from ignorance of certain facts.
▣ Area wise, Australia is the 6th largest country in the world, but its population density is one of the lowest in the whole world.
▣ Australia happens to be the smallest and driest inhabited continent in the world. The driest continent is Antarctica, but it is uninhabited.
▣ Western Australia, the largest state in the country, is almost the same size as the entire Western Europe.
▣ The Great Victoria Desert, the largest desert in the continent, is about one and a half times the size of the United Kingdom.
▣ Australia is the only continent that does not have an active volcano on it.
▣ There is no region on the entire continent that is more than 1,000 km away from the coastline. Australia has a coastline of around 60,000 km.
▣ Hard to believe, but the Snowy Mountains, or the Australian Alps, receive more snowfall than Switzerland does.
▣ Being in the lower hemisphere, the winter season begins in the month of June, and the summer season begins around Christmas time.
▣ When the British began settling in Australia in the late 1700s, it was mainly to maintain a land to send their prisoners to. Currently, about 25% of the Australian population are direct descendants of those convicts that were transported to Australia.
▣ The homicide rate in Australia is 1.8 for every 100,000 people. The United States, formed by the religious missionaries, has a homicide rate of 6.3 per 100,000. This is around 400% greater than Australia.
▣ There are around 20 million people living in Australia. Strangely, there are around 150 million sheep in Australia. Due to this, the country is the largest exporter of sheep wool and meat in the world.
▣ After Athens, the second-most Greek populated area in the world is Melbourne.
▣ The literacy rate in Australia is an astounding 99%. In fact, now it does not even measure its literacy statistics.
▣ Bob Hawke, the longest serving Prime Minister of Australia is in the Guinness Book of World Records for drinking 2.5 pints of beer in 11 seconds.
▣ Unknown to many, Australia was one of the founding members of the United Nations.
▣ The first police force in Australia was made up of 12 people. These 12 were their best behaved convicts.
▣ Mining is immense in the country, but the area occupied by pubs is more than the area covered by the mines.
▣ The Kangaroo and the Emu, two animals unique only to Australia, are present on the Coat of Arms of Australia.
▣ In 1964, the world's first official surfing championship was held in Sydney.
▣ The Australian outback is one of the best places in the world for star gazing, and astronomy. Under ideal viewing conditions, the naked eye can see almost 6,000 stars on a clear night.
▣ John Batman, one of the founders of Melbourne, in 1835, had the city named after him. Melbourne was known as Batmania back then.
▣ In 1993, the city of Melbourne also founded the world's first gay and lesbian radio station. This radio station was known as Joy Radio.
▣ The largest working cattle ranch in the world, the Anna Creek Cattle Station, is located in the South Australian outback. Covering a vast area of about 35,000 km, the station is bigger than Belgium.
▣ Australia has over 700 different species of reptiles.
▣ The World's largest reptile, the Saltwater Crocodile, is found in the northern coastal regions of Australia. Its average size is around 20 feet.
▣ There are about 1,500 species of spiders found in Australia. Owing to this, on an average, a person living in Australia ends up swallowing 3 spiders every year!
▣ Australia also boasts of the most venomous snakes in the world.
▣ The Australian Eucalyptus is the fastest growing tree in the world.
▣ The Kangaroo, the Emu, the Koala bear, and the Kookaburra, are animal species that are found only in Australia.
▣ There are also around 6,000 different species of flies in Australia.
▣ The Tasmanian Devil is more than just a fictional cartoon character. It is the largest carnivorous marsupial in the world, and can be found only in Australia.
▣ Australian deserts also boast of the largest herd of wild camels.